Monday, June 5, 2017

Tick Tock...Tick Talk..

Yes, sports fans, 'tis time once again for our annual Tick Talk.
If you've ever hiked in Tick Country, you well know about the scourge of ticks. Ticks are serious stuff. They carry wicked diseases, including the dreaded Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease can be Life Changing to some people. Ticks scare us worse than bears.  Why?  Well, your chances of having a life-changing encounter with a bear are very  slim.  However, every time you hike in Tick Country, you are literally risking a life-changing experience.  You can carry bear spray for the bruins and it works quite well.  But how do handle ba-zillions of ticks?

Before we get into talking a "tick solution" (literally), we'd like to scare you some more with tick stuff from the experts including Center For Disease Control, Mayo Clinic and the Lyme Disease Association.

OK, now that you are sufficiently impressed with just what kind of really bad things can happen to you from ticks, it's time to talk the absolute best Tick defense: Permethrin. If you venture into Tick Country, you really need to get yourself some Permethrin and learn how to use it properly. Here are two decent resources on Permethrin:
As we prep to head to Tick Country this week, we're getting all our clothes treated and ready to wear. Here's the Amazon link (shortened) to the best deal on bulk Permethrin. We have been using this concentrate for 4 years.
Here's how we use it.  First, we prepare a very dilute solution similar to the concentration sold by Sawyer.  We make up 3 gallons and place the 3 gallons in a five gallon pickle bucket.  We then place ALL of our hiking clothing (including socks and underwear) in this solution and let the clothing items sit for at least 12 hours.  The idea is to impregnate every molecule of every thread with the permethrin.  We use rubber gloves on our hands to hand wring each of the clothing items.  We put them on a line to air dry outside. We carry some of the  dilute solution in a spray bottle so we can spray our boots before each hike.  We wear calf-length socks and use velcro to close up our pant legs at the ankles.  If we are in Heavy Tick County, we wear cheap-o cotton gloves purchased at the dollar store.  We also wear a cotton scarf and a wide brim hat.  ALL items we wear are soaked in the solution.

This stuff just doesn't repel ticks, it kills them on contact with the treated clothing. We haven't had a tick on us ever since we started using this method.

Permethrin is safe to most mammals except cats.  It can be lethal for cats.  You can begin reading up about permethrin here:

DISCLAIMER: Use at your own risk. We consider permethrin to be safe.  However, user discretion is advised and recommended. The information here is presented solely as our own personal opinion and does not constitute medical advice.  Consult available technical resources and consider asking your physician if permethrin is safe for you.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Onboard Fire Extinguisher

I've always wanted to carry a small fire extinguisher in the cab of our camping truck--a 1984 Nissan 720 4WD king cab.  However, everything in that cab is so cramped and there's essentially no place to rig a fire extinguisher.  Today, we finally solved that conundrum.  We bought a small $10 Kidde Marine Model Mariner 5 fire extinguisher and simply bolted the retaining device to a milk crate.  The crate has been a fixture in the truck for as long as we've owned it.  Now the extinguisher stays put, upright in  the same spot and is readily accessible behind the driver's seat.
 As you can see, it's firmly attached to the milk crate.  No wiggling, wobbling or whatever.
 Fits nicely behind the driver's seat.  The seat goes all the way without hitting the extinguisher.
Very easy to get to behind the driver's seat.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Camp knives

We've always had problems with camp kitchen knives.  They are hard to store and can cause all sorts problems.  A few years ago, we decided to simply cut off the sharp tips and shorten the knives to fit the 50 caliber ammo can in which we keep all our other camp utes.

Well, that worked great until realized fugitive dish water hides in the handles of those knives.  We all know what stray water can do.  Think mold and bacteria. So, this week we went to the thrift store and picked out two knives that are essentially waterproof.

We figured this would be a good time to explain the process so here ya go.

These are the former camp knives.  They're great knives and will continue in use in our travel trailer where there is sufficient air flow and ventilation to help the knives dry out after washing.
The problem with the former camp knives is that  water would get trapped between the handle pieces and the blade.  When put into an airtight ammo can, well, use your imagination!

Here are the two knives we found for $2 each at our local Deseret Industries thrift store.  There's no place for dish water to hide in the one-piece, molded plastic handles of these knives.
The new knives have two problems; 1) Sharp tips and 2) Too long to fit an ammo can.
So, we square the knives up and mark the proper place to cut.
A hack saw can cut through most knives.  If not, a bench grinder will do the job.
Good-bye sharp tip.  If you've ever had  a sharp knife tip fall and stick in your flip flop foot, you well know how such an incident can ruin a perfectly good camping trip!
Then, you simply smooth the blunt end of the shorty knife, round and smooth  the corners and you're good to go.
The new knives are perfectly at home in the 50 caliber ammo can utes box.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

What's in those tubs?

About 35 years ago we realized "containerized camping" was the way to go.  Everything has its place.

So, what's with the Year Twenty Fifteen rig?  What's in those tubs?

First, the two small blue tubs are "truck stuff."  One tub holds tools and two Nissan repair manuals.  The other holds all the vital fluids a truck might need--antifreeze, oil, power steering, brake fluid and more.  We also travel with two spare tires, a custom lug nut breaking bar and a high flow air pump.

OK, here's the contents of the nine gray tubs:

  1. Tent
  2. Cooking utensils
  3. Food
  4. Coffee
  5. Share rain gear
  6. Susun clothes
  7. Susun hike stuff
  8. John clothes
  9. John hike stuff
Note that we hold coffee in such high regard it gets its very own tub all to itself.  Coffee is definitely not an afterthought with our camping rig!

The six gallon milk crate holds all the tie down material to pitch a tarp.  The three .30 caliber ammo cans hold:
  1. Eating utensils
  2. Spices
  3. Bear Spray
A separate metal box hold a variety of mosquito, gnat, and tick repellents.  We call it The Bug Box.

Our early 1950's Coleman stove is large enough to hold all kinds of stuff, including three propane fuel canisters and related flotsam and jetsam.

By the time everything else gets added this year, we probably won't be able to see through the rear view mirror.   Also, because we're carrying the canoe, our fuel economy will be terrible.  But what are summers for if not for camping, boating, hiking and enjoying the IdaWy outdoors?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stealth Cam G26NG Review

We purchased a Stealth Cam Model G26NG from Sam's Club on July 31, 2014.  This blog post will serve as a place for the review of this unit.  We will continue adding photos and narrative regarding the unit as the review process evolves.

Sam's sells "game cameras" each summer as a "seasonal item."  The cameras are usually placed on an end cap near other hunting-related items in Sam's pseudo-sporting goods department.  This summer, we noted the cameras shortly after July 4th.  We almost missed out on this camera as the inventory shrunk by about 2/3rds between early and late July.
Originally, the supply of this particular game cameras filled an entire end cap and spanned two pallets!

After getting the unit home, we used an X-acto knife to carefully and surgically cut open the stubborn blister pack material.  By using this technique to extract the camera unit, we keep the packaging looking pristine and "resalable" in case we need to return the unit within the 90-day window.
 Above, the X-acto cuts have already been made but appear almost invisible in this photo.  Below, the camera comes right out and the blister pack remains intact.  Under no circumstances will we use the included batteries, SD card or strap.  By leaving those accessories intact in their packaging, it's easy to make a case that we would be returning the camera unused should the need arise.  Hopefully, we can find the manual online and no have to extract and unfold the included manual.
Below you can see the camera in its first "state-of-inspection."  The first thing we noticed and disliked is there appears to be no protection for the lens.  The LED lights are behind some protection but not the lens, as you can easily see by the second photo below.
Once we find 8 AA batteries and one of our many spare SD cards, this review process will continue.  Stay tuned.

The manual for this model is located here:  It's 5.5 megs and a very fast download in PDF format.  There's 20-something pages of info in the manual.  The rest of the manual appears to be in one or more foreign languages.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Buckaroo Coffee

Stephen Neal Saqui

Buckaroo coffee: Heat water over a Coleman stove. Do not let the water boil, bring it up until it is rolling but not boiling then take it off the heat and spoon two spoons of medium ground coffee (of your choice as long as it's not decaffeinated). Put the cap back on the pot and let it sit. Forget all the lies about salt or eggshell, just let it sit. Go about fixing things to eat with it if you're hungry. When the grounds have settled to the bottom, pour a cup and drink. That's Buckaroo coffee. I have a hand grinder and prefer to grind good roasted beans. Harry Rogan liked Folgers and would scoff at my way but he would drink my coffee and I his. Now there's another thing about Buckaroo the Nevada Mountains one might be out prospecting or walking (some call it hiking) and when returning to camp one ALWAYS makes a pot of Buckaroo coffee. That's how it's done. You noticed I didn't say what size spoon? Pick one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Creating Space

We keep a lot of old OSB and scrap lumber around to tinker with rigging our camping gear each year.
An empty pickup bed is a lot like an artist's blank palette--it's just waiting for YOU to apply your talents to find new and unique ways to pack all your camping stuff.  Instead of creating a painting with your blank palette--you're creating space!

For each year's camping season, we always reinvent our wheel.  We always create new space.  We always come up with a different way to use the same blank palette.  It's been that way for 50+ years and there's every reason to believe it will be that way until we pass on to the Great Campground in The Sky.

This year we wanted to solve a vexing problem with the way we packed our 1984 Nissan short bed last season.  As everyone who camps knows, you get done with certain things last.  It would help if the last things you use in the morning go into the truck last instead of first!

This year, we think we finally got it right.  Of course, we say that EVERY year but, really, we might have it right this year.

As everyone knows, plastic tubs are the mainstay of our camp rigging.  These tubs sell at Wal-Mart for $5 or less.  There are four sizes.  Really small, small, large and really large.  We don't use the really large ones, only the first three sizes.

Anyway, the tubs are tapered so that they can stack easily.  This means they are MUCH wider at the top than they are at the bottom.  If you put a spacer under a tub to elevate it, you can often make the tubs fit nicer in your blank palette.  Generally, we've always used a piece of OSB on top of a 2x2 for a spacer.
POOF, Creating Space!

This year, we finally got decided to actually create space by combining the "Spacer Concept" with a brand new way to rig the back of the truck.

Lo and behold, we created some really fun space.  We can actually place three .30 caliber ammo cans in our newly created space, PLUS our Bug Box.  In addition, four of the small tubs fit perfectly in a space they simply wouldn't fit before. Meanwhile, there's now space for the tarp, groundsheet and trash to go in last.

This is huge because, prior to creating space today, the back of the pickup bed really didn't work all that well.  Now it works like a Swiss watch.

The moral of this story is to look at whatever blank palette you have with "fresh eyes."  Try to see new, unique and different possibilities.  Think in three dimensions.  Don't be afraid to shake it up and reinvent how you store your stuff.  There's almost always a better way of creating space.
 Not only do four small tubs now fit between the cooler and the stove, we have space for 3 ammo cans.
The portable CB radio finally gets stored in a quickly accessible spot.  The fire tools fit on one side and the hiking sticks fit on the other.  A 50 caliber can will go on top of the CB.  The groundsheet will fit in the big space on the right and trash in the middle on top of the Bug Box.  The tarp lays down on top of the two boxes on the right.

So what are in the four tubs?  The two tubs in the middle are Kitchen Stuff.  One is pots and pans and coffee stuff.  The other is food that doesn't need to be in a cooler.  The two tubs at right are our own personal clothing boxes, one for each of us.

All the overnight stuff (tent, sleeping bags, pillows, foam pads, etc.) goes up front on top of the safety gear.